The Life of Archimedes

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Archimedes, considered on of the greatest minds of the ancient world was born on the island of Sicily in the Greek city of Syracuse in the year 287 B.C.. Syracuse at the time was an independent Greek city-state with a 500-year history. He was the son of Phidias who was a Greek Astronomer and Mathematician. All that we know about Archimedes comes from his existing manuscripts, and from ancient historians such as Plutarch and Cicero among others centuries after his death. Considering the length of time between Archimedes death and the historians' accounts, along with the nonuniformity of their writings, some details of his life have to be subject to question. For example, Plutarch has been stated saying that Archimedes was related to King Hieron II, but Cicero had claimed that he was of a low birth. It was also reported that he would become so engrossed in his thoughts that he would forget to eat or bathe making his grooming habits more to be desired. It is believed that his early schooling came from Syracuse, then traveled to study with the Egyptian mathematician and astronomer Conon in the city of Alexandria. Archimedes had become close friends with Conon and also Eratosthenes, the custodian of the Alexandrian library. Long after completing his studies and returning to Syracuse he continued his correspondence with both of them about his different mathematical and scientific discoveries.

The contributions of Archimedes to mathematical knowledge are abundant setting force principles of plane and solid geometry. Only three of his treatises on plane geometry have survived, these are; Measurement of a Circle, Quadrature of a Parabola, and On the Sphere and Cylinder. In his book Measurement of a Circle Archimedes shows that the ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter can be calculated as he calls it the method for calculating Pi. He correctly determined that the value of Pi is somewhere between 3.1408 and 3.1428. Along the same...
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